what is it like to live in stoke-on-trent?

when i moved to stoke-on-trent about 1 and a half year ago, i knew almost nothing about the midlands. the only thing i knew, was that there was a team called stoke city (which i am a big fan of) and that i had gotten a full-time job as a translator there. i was 22 years old, i knew nobody in my new hometown and i was pretty nervous.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.46.22
you’ll see this owl everywhere in stoke!

stoke-on-trent, also known as the potteries, is a city by the river trent in staffordshire. the place is has six smaller towns, called stoke, hanley, burslem, longton, tunstall and fenton. stoke-on-trent is greatly recognized for their pottery industry, a thing you understand that the average stokie is still quite proud of. i used to live up hanley, which has most of the shopping oppurtunities (including the shopping centre intu potteries). i used to work when these were open, so i didn’t really spend much time shopping, but i can definitely recommend this to visitors. this because the shopping centre has a great stoke city fc-shop!

as i mentioned earlier i was quite nervous when i arrived at the city of oatcakes, but luckily this passed quite fast. i got settled in hanley, i lived in a traditional english brick house and i also got in the routine of work really fast. working in stoke-on-trent i had varied days, because i did not have to speak a lot of english at work. i worked in a scandinavian team, which meant that i learned a lot more danish and swedish, than english on a daily basis. the company had a lot of different employees from different countries, like the netherlands, poland, greece, spain and a lot more. this definitely made the working experience a lot more fun, because you learned bits and pieces from all the other nationalities.

Skjermbilde 2015-03-06 kl. 22.34.43  the building on the left is where i used to live.

but in my spare time, i got to speak a lot of english. i really fancy the stoke-accent, i must say. especially their use of the word “duck” which originally came from the word duke. this is a common designation of affection towards both men and women. this word is mostly used at the end of a sentence. one of the sentences you hear most often is “ay up, duck?”, which can mean “whats happening?”, “how are you” and “hello”, it all depends on the way you say it. try it next time you meet a stokie. i think i’ve never met anyone from stoke who does not find it fun to make a foreigner speak the stoke-accent.

when i moved to stoke, i thought my english was quite good, but i had a hard time understanding what locals were saying to me in the shops, on the bus, at the pubs etc. but i believe that one can get used to almost anything, and now i almost feel like a “duck”.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.12.37britannia on a friendly match day.

i have heard that journalists often does research for their articles, so that is why i decided to do the same. i asked a lot former foreign colleagues what they liked about living in stoke, and i got a lot of great answers:

– it is really easy to get to stoke city matches, both home and away (because they have free transport to away games).

– if one is originally from a foreign country, stokies tend to find us exciting and it is easy to make friends.

– rent and travelling is really cheap. stoke-on-trent is in the middle of england, so you can travel anywhere cheap and fast. it is also a great place to groundhop!

– indian food is great in stoke (the best restaurant is called sangam)

– student-night in hanley on mondays, where the alcohol is almost free!

– oatcakes – a type of pancake, but with oats in it. you can buy these almost anywhere. they are served hot with some type of filling. this is often cheese and bacon. stokies love them so much, and get offended if you make fun of them.

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.45.18
one of the greatest games last season, against arsenal.

i would really recommend living in stoke. it is a great place, with great people. if you do a quick google search, you will find out that not a lot of englishmen like stoke. the readers of the telegraph named it the 10th most ugly place in all of england. i have experienced that englishmen in general make fun of stoke-on-trent when i say that i’ve lived there, the funny thing is that over 50% of those people have never been or plan to go to stoke-on-trent ever. so their arguments are not really valid, i guess that stoke-on-trent is just a place with a bad reputation.

after reading this experience, i hope you will take the time to someday visit the home of the great potters!

PS: you might not know what these famous people are from stoke:

– lemmy kilmister (motörhead vocalist)

– slash (most known as the guns n’roses guitarist)

– robbie williams (known from take that)

Skjermbilde 2014-08-21 kl. 21.45.35picture from the robbie williams exhibition at the local museum.

have you ever been to stoke-on-trent?

/fredrikke

tips on saving money before christmas

it is getting close to christmas, and you probably plan to spend tons of money on gifts for all your friends and family. but when you realize how little you actually have to spend, you need to come up with a great plan to fix this. here are some tips for saving money:

do you have spotify or another streaming program? well, end your subscription. the library has tons of CDs, all for you to borrow. i do this myself, i go to the library every day and borrow a certain amount of CDs which i save in my music library. this also is great for putting on your ipod. this is also a great way of going to the library and actually staying to read a bit, cause if i am at a library, i do feel that i have to study, at least for a while. and why stream music? streaming tends to never work on trains anyway.

do you collect anything? well, if it is valuable you could trim off your collection. everyone has duplicates of something, and they never use them, so go a head. SELL SELL SELL. i certainly know a few things i could sell out of my collections. luckily those things are at my parents.

do you shop at stores? sign up for their reward program. (a good idea is to create a separate e-mail address for this, because you’ll receive tons of spam.)

do you like making things? this is like the oldest trick in the book. people do enjoy homemade gifts, often more than new things. so start cooking, painting, drawing or whatever you’re the best at.

do you have a lot of stuff? this trick seems kind of rude, but i personally am a huge fan of it. do you have a book you’ve read or a movie you’ve seen that you don’t need anymore, give that away as a gift. people like to get things they know their friends/family likes.

do you like books? well, join this site, where you can swap books for free.

after you’ve done all of that, you’ll feel like this:
Skjermbilde 2014-11-26 kl. 22.11.01

i could give you more tips, like: make a shopping list and stick to it, repair your clothes instead of buying new ones and cut up your credit cards, but we all know that those things and they often don’t work.

how do you save money?

/fredrikke

red hot 100

a few days ago i got a book by post, made by the fantastic thomas knights. i have been loving his work since the beginning of the year when he started the red hot-project (you can see my post about going to the exhibit further down). i have bought the calendars and contributed fairly to the project, because it is so amazing. all my friends know that i love red heads, so they weren’t surprised when i bought this.

Skjermbilde 2014-11-14 kl. 01.29.40

thomas knights himself says this about the project:
guys with red hair don’t have the positive role models that girls do in our culture.  male with red hair is not seen as aspirational, culturally speaking, with very few leading men, heroes, action stars or heartthrobs played by men with red hair in hollywood or on our TV screens. also the more laddish culture of banter – that maybe is not so prevalent in female friendship circles – creates a fear of speaking out based on the concept of ‘it was just a joke’. while many people may argue calling someone a ‘ginga’ or any other ‘fun’ words for people with red hair is just witty banter, for some of those on the receiving end, the impact to their self esteem is felt much more deeply and can have lasting, detrimental effects at school and way into their adult life. red Hot is my response to this.

i really like his approach and i also LOVE the book. i’ve been reading and mostly looking at all the fantastic red haired men in this books for hours. i wish that i came up with this idea!

these are some of my favourites from the book:
Skjermbilde 2014-11-14 kl. 01.29.29

Skjermbilde 2014-11-14 kl. 01.39.48
Skjermbilde 2014-11-14 kl. 01.39.57
Skjermbilde 2014-11-14 kl. 01.40.04

i think you all should read more about it at this website.

how do you feel about people with red hair and what is your favourite hair colour?

/fredrikke

what to watch: i wanna marry harry

i’ve always had a dream to marry prince harry. not because he is a prince, but because he is unbelievably handsome, and because we totally have soooo much in common, like that we both live in britain (or at least i think he does?). in these world cup times, you can never get enough of hot english men (like wayne rooney), so here is some qualities prince harry has:

– he can play the tambourine.
– he looks good in a uniform.
– he has red hair.
– he is interested in botany.
– he is the patron of 12 charities.
– he loves partying.

but, the reason i am mentioning all his amazing qualities is that some american people, and a guy called man called matt hicks (who does look much like prince harry), decided to make a show, where 12 girls are fooled into believing they’re dating prince harry. do the girls only want the fame and fortune? or would they want to date a red head? you have to watch the show to tell!

and to be fair, it is surprisingly entertaining.

/fredrikke

travelogue: everton vs arsenal

i had to wake up early on sunday. maybe too early after all the traveling from the day before. i had to book a taxi to the train station, cause i slept a bit too long (ops!), but i luckily i got to stoke train station in time to make my way to goodison park. this is a stadium with a lot of history. the game i was about to see was a crucial game, cause everton getting points would lead them closer to a forth place.

Image vs Skjermbilde 2014-04-12 kl. 00.52.37

when i came to the ground, it was filled with people dressed in blue, i was definitely in the right place. but i needed to find my friend, who had got my ticket. so i needed to get to the away end. after about a twenty minute wait, he showed up and i was relieved. there is no such thing as mobile coverage on a match day! so the best thing is to be prepared some days before.

Image
i walked around the stadium once more, before heading in for the game, so i could really get the feel of goodison park. it is a really great ground! i also do fancy a good scouse accent, so just walking around, listening to all the people talking about football on a match day, is not exactly the worst thing you can do on a sunday.

three facts about goodison park, which i find interesting are:
– it was the first major football stadium to be built in england.
– this is the place where wayne rooney grew to be the player he is now.
– they have a church (!) at the stadium, called st. lukes.

suddenly on my walk around the stadium, i discovered, amongst the brilliant the picture history wall, my friend, wayne rooney. of course, i had to stop and take a photo, and there is also an interesting fact at the bottom:

Image

i got in the stadium. found my place and stood amongst the arsenal fans, which was an experience of it’s own. they’re really dedicated after what has happened this past season.

at halftime i checked out the facilities:
1. food looked really good, they had some pies which i always find to look good, but the queue was too long.
2. bathrooms were okay, but it could have been a bit warmer.
3. admission prices were a bit expensive, but i would have excepted them to be at this game.
4. alcohol is almost impossible to get at half time almost anywhere, but the prices here were a bit stiff at about 4 pounds for 600 ml.
5. programmes are a bit too full of advertisement, but they have good information about players.

i probably do not need to tell you what happened it this game, but the match ended 3-0. if you want to read a proper match report, you’re welcome to, right here. after talking to some of the people in the seats next to me, it turned out we had friends in common and i joined them to the only place they felt right about going after the game, the pub (and hostel) king harry. it became a late afternoon of frustration and discussions about wenger.

the view from my seat:

Image

good luck in the FA cup today arsenal!

/fredrikke

travelogue: blackburn rovers vs ipswich town

after running to the train station from wigan, cause this game was on the same saturday. i was ready for another game at ewood park. this time i would have shorter time to make it to the stadium, but i went to the station mill hill, instead of blackburn, which is a tip, cause then it is shorter to walk. the stadium was placed in what i find to be a weird place, in between a mc donalds and tons of houses!?! but after finding the ticket office, and getting my ticket i was ready for:

Image  vs  Image

what i can say, is that i do not know a lot about ipswich town. but what i do know, is that blackburn rovers have had quite a lot of norwegians playing for them over the years, to mention some:
– henning berg.
– stig inge bjørnebye (heia start!)
– martin andresen.
and last but not least, morten gamst pedersen, who some might say is the one who has made the biggest career outside of football, by doing this commercial (sorry, no subtitles, but it is still enjoyable):

when half time came i checked out the facilities. the ground itself is quite nice, the supporter shop is impressive (i went there after the match to buy a programme). admission price was reasonable, i would expect a greater atmosphere for £20, but that depends on the match you go to, i guess. the food (or should i say hot dogs?) was not that great, but i guess if you like pies, this is the stadium for you to travel to.

a lonely ipswich player:

Image

if you want a match report, you will find one here. the atmosphere wasn’t as great as i’d expected it to be. i was even surprised as to how few ipswich supporters had shown up. there should have been more. where i was sitting i didn’t have the best view, cause of some poles, which also made the match less good.

you can see the view that i had over ewood park in this really short clip:
(which might help you to understand my frustration over the poles)

to prove the atmosphere isn’t the greatest here, half of the people at this match even left 15 minutes before the game ended, even though the home team was winning.

the match ended 2-0.

Image

have you ever been to ewood park?

/fredrikke

travelogue: wigan athletic vs leeds.

so i woke up pretty early on saturday, i had to prepare for my first trip this day, which was going to wigan and DW stadium. the match started at 12.15. i was really excited for this game, cause wigan is doing quite good, they’re in the FA cup semi-final and i’ve heard leeds supporters are known to be quite good.

i walked down to stoke train station to take the train to wigan. this took about one and a half hour. when i arrived, i didn’t know what to expect, cause what i heard is that wigan is the only team who’ve re-written a song specially for the FA cup SEMI FINAL. just sit down, relax, and enjoy:

but when i walked out of my train, wigan was actually nicer than i expected it to be. and walking to the stadium, was really, really easy. about 20 minutes from the train station, i just followed the excited leeds supporters.

and this is how the stadium looked in the horizon:

Skjermbilde 2014-04-10 kl. 23.37.07

the match was really exciting. if you want a match report, go here. i was excited to see jack butland (as he is on a loan to leeds from stoke city). and the leeds supporters were not quiet for a minute. they even brought flares, which were thrown on the pitch during the game. here is a short clip of the leeds fans, can you spot the flares?

at half-time i checked out the facilities. they have really good hot dogs here! so if you’re a fan of hot dogs, eat one and you would want to come back, just for them. i also had a lot of fun reading the programme. especially the children’s section who say the best thing about the latics is that they’re FA CUP champions.

this was the view from my seat:

Skjermbilde 2014-04-10 kl. 23.37.32

the match ended 1-0.

so good luck wigan against arsenal this saturday! you’ll (probably) need it. i am excited to see the result. who do you think will win the FA cup?

/fredrikke